Third-party credibility via objective news stories in recognized media outlets is really good. For those operating within the finance industry and wearing the hat of fintech financier, getting your brand mentioned in the industry’s most authoritative outlet is even better. When that story is profiled on the front cover of that magazine, well, its hard to ask for more.
“When your firm is cited in a leading publication, it means you have arrived in the world of recognized thought-leaders..”
When it comes to financial industry brand message strategies and best ways to advance a value proposition, fintech financiers (aka capital formation firms that sponsor the latest and greatest disruptive and innovative financial technology startups) are finding themselves aggressively competing to be lead investors for game-changing entrepreneurs.
In the glory days of early internet IPOs, ‘investment banker bake-off’ was the process that described how start-up entrepreneurs determined which firm(s) they would mandate to raise capital for their company. Given that fintech represents one of today’s hottest private investment sectors, financiers within the space are all competing to corral the next Unicorn, but to do that however, those financiers are obliged to get themselves to the top of the awareness rankings so that their own brand is widely-recognized and their respective distinct value proposition becomes widely-known to cowboys who are riding on backs of those prospective unicorns.
Because there are dozens of PE firms, VCs and merchant banks with oodles of capital to deploy (each with their set of handcuffs, lock-up terms etc), start-up firms are ever-more sensitive to a funding firm’s reputation vis a vie what those bankers actually bring to the table, other than capital. In the world of brand awareness, third party credibility is crucial, and industry publications that report on what’s new and who is new are studied carefully by smart start-up folks in the course of the bake-off analysis. With that Institutional Investor, one of the financial industry’s premiere publications has just released their independent findings via last week’s release of their now-annual focus on fintech with II’s 2016 Top 35 Fintech Financiers. Within the context of brand enhancement schemes, the beauty is this is the cover story for II’s November edition. So, getting yourself referenced in a cover story of a major publication is truly where the rubber meets the road.
Lo and behold, placing in the top 20 from among the tends of dozens of firms in the space is a boutique merchant bank that this writer and “professional brand positioner” is proud to be affiliated with via serving on the firm’s advisory network board. What makes the winning firm in question so compelling is their laser-sharp focus on brand imagery and the process by which they are advancing their own brand and the companies within their portfolio. Below is the extract of the latest II report, published by financial industry blog “MarketsMuse“ and with link below to the November 2016 edition of the Institutional Investor cover story..
“..Many of the Fintech Finance 35 — those ranked by Institutional Investor as the leading financiers and facilitators of the ongoing entrepreneurial explosion in financial technology — have “partner” in their titles. Their firms are structured as partnerships, but all on the list are partners in a practical, day-to-day sense. They are as much strategic advisers and collaborators as they are funders; “partnerships” are what they offer to companies they invest in and usher toward growth and maturity.” Jeffrey Kutler, Institutional Investor Magazine
With that, its no surprise that Institutional Investor Magazine, which for years has been the harbinger of the financial industry’s best-in-class people (e.g. Institutional Investor All America Research Team is the bible used to benchmark equity and fixed income research analysts) has more recently started tracking the top funders and dealmakers from across the fintech ecosystem via II’s Annual Fintech Finance 35. And, hot off the press: II’s 2016 Top Influencers in Fintech Finance! With 35 top guns highlighted, MarketsMuse team arbitrarily picked out one of the profiles from the middle of list of 35 to share with our readers. The folks who have risen from last year’s #19 spot to this year’s #16 spot are the principals of SenaHill Partners, which is arguably one of the fintech industry’s leading pioneers. SenaHill positions itself as part investment bank, part PE investor, part adviser and part incubator..
Principal investor, strategic adviser, and business accelerator, SenaHill Partners gets a lot of mileage out of just 14 people. “We’re hiring,” managing partner Justin Brownhill says — an auspicious indicator for the New York firm and perhaps for fintech deal flow overall. Founded by Brownhill and co–managing partner Neil DeSena in 2013, SenaHill is staffed by people with extensive banking, brokerage, and operational experience, further leveraged by an adviser network of dozens of industry veterans, who contribute strategic insights and help identify and vet investment candidates. “Two to three generations of knowledge,” hands-on experience and a roll-up-the-sleeves attitude set SenaHill apart, says Brownhill, 45, who was an investor in and executive at Lava Trading, which Citigroup acquired in 2004, and CEO of the Receivables Exchange from 2007 to 2012. “Venture capital in financial technology is a journey, not a me-too business,” says DeSena, 52, who started the REDI institutional trading business in 1992 and ran it until 2006, the last six years as part of Goldman Sachs Group. “ ‘Five years and exit’ isn’t the way it works.” SenaHill’s 22-company portfolio includes investment research and analytics site Market Realist, where Brownhill is a board member; blockchain smart-contracts company Symbiont, where DeSena is a director and former Morgan Stanley capital markets executive Caitlin Long recently became chairman and president; and WealthForge, a private capital–raising platform that placed third in last year’s UBS Future of Finance Challenge.
To read the entire story from Institutional Investor, click here